Patient facilities, student learning both enhanced with renovation of animal hospital at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University

Henry and Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University
A client checks in his eight-year-old bloodhound for an appointment in the newly renovated reception area of the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University.
April 20, 2017

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Tara Pettinato

NORTH GRAFTON, Mass. (April 20, 2017)—A $10 million renovation of the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University is complete, offering new state-of-the-art facilities that will benefit patients, their human families, referring veterinarians and the veterinary faculty, interns, residents, staff, and students who provide care.

Foster Hospital is one of seven academic teaching hospitals and clinics that comprise Cummings Veterinary Medical Center, located at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. In 2016, nearly 34,000 patients were treated at Foster Hospital, an 8% increase in cases over 2015. The improvements, which help meet the demands of this growth, expand the space with:

  • new examination rooms;
  • larger treatment rooms for specialty services in ophthalmology, cardiology and neurology;
  • a reception area that offers separate spaces for different species to reduce patient stress;
  • conference rooms and meeting spaces for increased communication and collaboration across services; and
  • a reflection room that provides clients with a quiet space to consider important decisions around their animal’s care.

The new reception area offers a dedicated check-in for emergency patients, and the ER treatment space has been expanded. Both are important features given the hospital’s Level I VTC (veterinary trauma center) designation, provided by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC). Foster is one of six veterinary trauma centers in the country with a Level I VTC designation, which requires a facility to have 24/7 total care for the management of small animal trauma patients, from emergency stabilization through definitive medical and surgical care. There are also strict requirements for multi-specialty staffing and medical resources.

Enhanced technology enables veterinarians and veterinary students on clinical rotations to track the status of emergency cases on large monitors. And, veterinarians have access to fully-integrated electronic medical records on exam-room computers, allowing them to share information on the patient in real time across specialties.

“In addition to the impressive physical improvements, the benefits of this renovation go beyond what our patients and clients see when they walk in the door,” says Dr. Virginia Rentko, VMD, medical director, Foster Hospital and the Hospital for Large Animals at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center. “The overall space is more conducive to collaboration and communication, which can improve care on complex patient cases that involve multiple specialists, enable important clinical research and discussion, and enhance hands-on student learning.”

The hospital renovation campaign, launched in May 2013, raised more than $10 million. The Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund, an independent private foundation dedicated to continuing its namesake’s philanthropy, offered a 2:1 challenge early in the process. To receive a $2.5 million donation from the fund, Cummings School needed to raise $5 million by the end of 2014. The generosity of the school’s many supporters—including Anne and Travis Engen, who gave $2.5 million—helped make this goal a reality.

“Thanks to the generosity of our donors, these new spaces enable teaching and learning for our students, interns, and residents, and their faculty and staff mentors,” said Deborah T. Kochevar, DVM, Ph.D., dean and Henry and Lois Foster Professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. “That translates to the highest quality veterinary care for today’s patients and advances for future patients through veterinary clinical trials and development of innovative therapies.”

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About Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
Founded in 1978 in North Grafton, Mass., Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is internationally esteemed for academic programs that impact society and the practice of veterinary medicine; seven teaching hospitals and clinics that combined log more than 80,000 animal cases each year; and groundbreaking research that benefits animal, human, and environmental health.